We have long been peripheral partners and visceral advocates of the Edinburgh Book Festival, whose 2019 edition is now in session. Amid the broader rejoicings of the city’s August celebrations, the Book Festival offers a unique chance to interact with authors—whether as part of the hundreds of scheduled events, or at the book signings and informal gatherings that usually follow these.
The theme this year, ‘We need new stories’, is part statement of fact, part call to action. No offense to the Cassandras regularly heralding the death of the book, but writers still have a key role to play in our navigating the cultural, societal and environmental turmoils of the day.
This year’s wide-ranging programme shines a spotlight on such varied notions as indigenous literatures, women’s struggle for equal treatment and the state of post-devolution, pre-Brexit Scotland. It also features performances by some of today’s most enthralling spoken-word artists, and more than two hundred events geared to young readers. Beware though that the window of opportunity to go and hear your next favourite poet or polemicist is closing fast: the festival tents on Charlotte Square Gardens will fold on the evening of Monday 26 August, restoring the premises to their equally delightful off-season quietude.
‘Literature is proof that life is not enough.’